Home Buying in 19082>Question Details

Helaurin, Both Buyer and Seller in Havertown, PA

Purchasing a property. We just found out that the seller removed the imported Italian chandelier and replaced it with a $40 chandelier from Home Depot

Asked by Helaurin, Havertown, PA Tue Dec 6, 2011

The sale agreement did not specifically mention the chandelier; we thought that since it was attached, that it was included. It was there when we offered to buy the house, it was there during the inspection and appraisal activities. I'm concerned about what else they might have switched out - we haven't had the final walkthru yet. What are our options? Is it unreasonable to ask for the receipt & warranty for the new fixture (which, I read a review on, has had cases of being wired incorrectly) so that we might be able to exchange it for a fixture we prefer?

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Helaurin’s answer
Quick update: The sellers refused to give any credit for the chandelier. Not only that, other items that were on the Agreement of Sale were also removed (example - tall barstools that went with a built-in pub-height table/bar, etc.). Their response was that the seller was older, didn't know that she sell the items to other people (she admitted having sold the items to someone else), that our buyers' agent had written on the Agreement of Sale that these items had no cash value, and so not only were the items not there, but they would not give a single penny towards replacing the items. It was definitely "take it or leave it" - either way, settlement was scheduled for 10:30 am and if we weren't completely done by Noon, they were leaving. End of discussion. And no - they would not provide the box, warranty nor receipt for the new fixture either, as we hadn't requested it in the agreement of sale! (How we could request those items for something we weren't expecting them to remove/replace, is beyond me).

Never dealt with people like this before and hope never have to again.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
Hi Helaurin, both my colleagues below are absolutely correct. I will add that yes, unless it was specifically mentioned in the MLS, during the offer and counter-offer phase, or in the contract, that it should not have been switched out. That said, don't automatically presume that they are acting with malice. When clients DO exclude lighting fixtures, we do advise them that they must replace with a standard replacement.

It may be that the agent or the client is simply unaware of these guidelines.

Ask them to leave it unless it has sentimental value to them. If it does, I imagine you do not want to deprive them of a treasured belonging, but you deserve to be compensated for it. Whatever it is valued out, minus the $40 replacement should be credited to you at settlement.

Do NOT settle until you get it in writing signed by all parties and YES, ask for the receipt so you can return the builder-grade fixture.

Speak to your agent today and best of luck to you!

I truly hope you have a wonderful holiday season.
Just have a brief question? Call or email anytime -- day or night!
I work hard (and smart) so you don't have to.

R. Eric Axelson, Associate Broker
Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty
South Jersey | Philadelphia | the Main Line | Bucks County | New Hope
In NJ 856.617.1212
In PA 215.735.2225
axelson@kurfiss.com | http://www.kurfiss.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 6, 2011
That would be a FIXTURE. If it was there on your original appointment, and NOT stated in the contract it would be replaced, I would say you have a case. You have not had the final walk thru yet so tell your agent you expect the original one to be there, or a credit to be given towards purchase of a fixture that is acceptable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 8, 2011
Helaurin, as previously stated unless the sales agreement, sellers disclosure, and MLS, specifically excluded the chandelier, you have the right to ask your agent to request the chandelier back, a replica, or the amount of money for that type of fixture. Fixtures stay with the property unless excluded. Hopefully you can get this issue worked out prior to your walk-thru. If not I suggest you connect with a Real Estate attorney and seek their opinion on your options. If you need a referral on a Real Estate attorney contact us as we can assist you.

Best of Luck to you,

Rob Hughes: Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
(Associate Broker) (AB065650)
(Hughes Associates) (Realtor since 1987)

Office: 610-225-7400 x7438

Cell# 484-410-9765 (Preferred)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
I would not assume by this action that these sellers are being deceitful or have done other bad things. You are expressing a typical homebuyer reaction to a seller in a home sale transaction. Whatever they do, we attribute the very worst intentions to them. Perhaps these folks were misinformed about this by their agent. I would just address it as if it was a misunderstanding and see how far you get. They owe you the chandelier or its value. Personal property is a small percentage of the value of a home but a large part of the bad feelings and last minute snags. It is part of human nature to feel like these things are the "last straw" in a large financial transaction like buying a home. Your agnet should be able to guide you through this to a conclusion that all can live with. Best of luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
If the chandelier was not specifically excluded as a fixture in your sales contract, the Sellers have two choices they must either reinstall the chandelier (and anything else they may have taken out) or alternately they must satisfy you with compensation of some sort. The choice is yours.

I would suggest not allowing them to buy or install any fixtures but rather that you negotiate a cash settlement (to be paid as closing costs). This way you may buy whatever you like and have it installed by whomever you like and get any warranty that may apply.

Good Luck and I hope you enjoy your new home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
The fixture that was removed was of sentimental value to the seller and that's fine. It should have been in the MLS (it wasn't) and in the AOS (it wasn't). I'm not an unreasonable person; if they wanted to take the chandelier and replace it with something else of similar quality, I wish they would have asked and said something like "hey, we want this chandelier. Go pick out something you like, we'll fund x-amount of the fixture purchase and we'll pay for an electrician to install it." The fixture we would have picked, if given the chance, would have been $80 - reasonably nice but not extravagant. Our request for the box & receipt, if still available, was met with a "it is what it is" from the seller's agent, along with a written beratement that we shouldn't be concerned if anything else that was to be included might also have been changed and a claim that "the seller is leaving behind what she said she would". Overall, I'm not impressed with the professionalism of the seller's agent, who has also said that this inquiry is "pointless". Granted, on the grand scheme of things, the chandelier really isn't a big deal to us. The fact that it is imported vs. domestic doesn't make us desire it more or less than if it was domestic. The concern - which the seller's agent seems to be dismissing - is that I'm not confident that other items also listed in the AOS are being left as agreed upon. The seller is moving out the day before settlement, so we won't have access for a walkthrough until one hour before settlement, leaving very little time to work out anything that might come up.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 7, 2011
Dear Helaurin,
I certainly understand your frustration with something like this. Any personal property that is attached to the home is part of the sale, unless specifically noted in the purchase agreements. Please take a look at your contracts to find out where you stand with this, or any other features in the home.

When situations like this occur, you have to ask yourself if it's worth the expense and frustration of making an issue of it, or just going out and purchasing your own chandelier.

You do have a final "walk-through" and I would take your agent and carefully look at every fixture in the house. The final sale can be made contingent upon the final walk through of the home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 6, 2011
Good morning Helaurin, unless the chandlier was excluded on the Agreement Of Sale or an Addendum To The Agreement Of Sale endorsed by both parties, you should be entitled to the chandlier; and, you may want to put off closing until the chandlier is replaced and inspected/certified by the governing township, boro, etc. Be sure that you receive a copy of the installation permit; and, if you decide to keep the replacement chandlier, get a copy of the installation permit, the installers contact info and any accompaning warranties in writing. In some cases the seller(s) feel that if they did not get full price, they are entitled to remove/take whatever items they want. This is probably not the case. You may need to seek the help of an attorney. Good Luck and enjoy your new home, Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 6, 2011
Tim's right. Tyipcally, if there is no mention on the contract EXCLUDING the fixtures, they are to be included. I don't think you necessarily have to wait for a FINAL walk through to go see the home again. Just ask your agent if he can make the request to the selling agent so that you can check out any doubts you have.

I don't see why you couldn't ask for that warranty information or receipt if that will keep the sellers from having to re-install the old fixture you thought was included.

Best of luck Helaurin!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 6, 2011
You have a right to believe you should get that chandelier, unless it was excluded then it should convey. A good listing agent will always tell a seller to remove or replace anything they want to remove from the house before a buyers sees it because they will want it. Your story is not a new one and the result can be a lot like congress these days. It will require some communication and maybe some compromise. Have your agent bring it up with the sellers agent and go from there. Delay closing if you need to while working it out, once you close you accepted what was there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 6, 2011
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